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How much are fast food workers getting paid?

Fast-food restaurant wages vary depending on the chain and the state. Recently, California increased the minimum wage for fast food workers from $16 to $20 an hour, a 25% increase. This only applies to chain restaurants with at least 60 establishments across the U.S.

Domino’s, where Corynne works, falls into this category. The pizza chain has 6,854 stores in the U.S., which includes 6,566 franchise stores.

Corynne doesn’t mention where she lives and doesn't disclose her hourly wage. She does say she delivers pizza, and delivery drivers at Domino’s earn an average of $17.91 an hour in the U.S., according to an estimate from Indeed based on over 13,000 employee salaries.

Corynne’s salary at NBC would depend on whether she was full-time or freelance. According to Indeed, the average hourly pay for video editors at NBC is $37.24 with a low of $26.35, but this is based on limited data.

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Are these salaries better than office jobs?

Many of the over 2,200 comments on Corynne’s video are about wanting to work at stores and restaurants over office jobs that require degrees.

Corynne mentioned those in leadership positions at her old NBC job were “bullies,” and workplace culture did appear to factor into some of these comments.

“Me leaving Dentistry field for. Home Depot less stress and 2 dollar raise,” said one commenter named Rin.

Another with handle @ox_ash.cash_xo wrote that she works as a Certified Medical Assistant for $21 an hour while “here everyone is less stressed making more at like In-N-Out down the road.”

Some believe an eight-hour shift at Domino’s tends to be less stressful than something like a cameraman job. Plus, when you clock out, you can leave work at work, pointed out one commenter named Chyna.

Many younger people are leaning toward a “soft life” and descending the corporate ladder to prioritize their lives and mental health over their work and making money.

What does this mean for the economy?

There’s been an uproar from fast food franchise owners and some business experts about the minimum wage hike in California. They argue it will lead to job losses for workers and higher prices for consumers.

Fox Business reported that Domino's CFO, Sandeep Reddy, echoed this in a February earnings call. Reddy let investors know that the chain will see a "modest price increase" across the country, with higher increases in California to “offset” the wage hike.

But fast food restaurants have been increasing prices greatly in the past decade, without the pressure of a 25% wage increase. McDonald’s menu prices doubled across popular items since 2014 — outpacing the 31% rate of inflation during that time, according to a recent analysis by personal finance website FinanceBuzz.

The $20 minimum wage in California still doesn't amount to much, totalling $41,600 per year, before taxes. In sharp contrast, Domino CEO Russell Weiner raked in total compensation of $10.1 million in 2023.

NPR reported that many fast food workers live below the poverty line. The California wage increase will hopefully provide them and their families with some relief.


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Sabina Wex is a writer and podcast producer in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Fast Company, CBC and more.


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